Shin-Okubo is Korea Town in Tokyo. This enclave is the largest home to close to 100,000 Koreans, second to Osaka. Made up mainly of 'new comers' from South Korea immigrated after WW II more so in the 80's, retained their ethnic and cultural identity as well as language, and created Korean-based commercial centers.
Before the war from 1910, two million Koreans moved to Japan for economic reasons while many were brought as labourers, most returned to their homeland after the war. Those who remained, the Zainichi, make up the largest ethnic minority group in Japan of about 600,000. They are naturalised citizens of Japan but retain Old Korean (Joseon) or South Korean citizenship.
K-pop (Korean popular music) has taken the world by storm. This musical genre of electronic, hip hop, R & B, rock and pop has invaded the young Asian Internet society shifting paradigms in the music industry. Through the social networks of Facebook, Twitter and iTunes, music, videos, fan news and merchandising a new wave commercialism has emerged. Girl bands like The Wonder Girls hit the US Billboards in 2009 with 'Nobody'. Boy bands and individuals artists are collaborating with international artists for global exposure and it works.
A K-pop shop dealing in merchandise ranging from inner wear to lollies endorsed by bands of the day.
In contrast this sorry sign marks the spot of a former Malaysian restaurant that has seen better days. If you look really hard, the letters on the far left spells Mahathir, the name of this establishment.
Our destination, a humble snack place up a gloomy flight of stairs. Our Korean friend ordered the shredded cabbage with ketchup and by popular request two types of fried chicken that we had tried before. Yangyeum fried chicken, the one in the foreground, is generously dowsed in sweet and spicy yangyeum sauce and sesame seeds; and the other is the ginger-soya sauce flavoured version. The secret to making this chicken so delicious is that it is double-fried enabling the fat of the skin melt giving a transparent crispy texture.
This fiery orange-coloured dish is kim chee Korean omelette. The rolled version is called gaeran mari.
Happy diners . . .